Naked Wines today reported sales up by more than three-quarters and said it was “ideally positioned” for the ongoing shift as customers continue to buy more wine online and less in shops.
Sales in June alone were up by 67%, compared to the same time last year, with the result that sales for the first quarter of Naked Wines financial year were 77% ahead of the same time last year. It is a strong start to the company’s first financial year as Naked Wines, following the strategic decision to focus on Naked Wines’ social-led online business and to sell the multichannel Majestic Wine business for which the company was previously named.
Now the company’s board believes it has backed a winner as shoppers buy more wine online during and after Covid-19 lockdowns. In a trading update today it said: "The board continues to believe that Naked is ideally positioned to be a long-term winner from the inflection in consumer demand for online wine as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic." Nonetheless, the retailer said there was too much uncertainty for it to forecast its performance in the rest of the financial year.
The trading update came as Naked Wines chairman John Walden said he would step down from the board after the company’s AGM next month for personal reasons.
Walden said: “It has been a privilege to lead Naked through its transformation to a pureplay online business, its continued growth and recent successful response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a difficult personal decision to step down at this juncture, however it is the right decision for myself and Naked Wines. I leave the business in a strong position to grow and to realise its promise for an extraordinary future.”
Walden will be replaced by non-executive director Ian Harding until a new chairman is found. Harding, whose experience includes 19 years at Kingfisher and eight years at PwC, has been on the board since June 2013. During that time he was involved both with Majestic Wine’s acquisition of Naked Wines in 2015, and then with its transformation into Naked Wines.
Harding said: “[Walden] led the board through the execution of the sale of the Majestic businesses, Naked’s formative stages of becoming a pureplay online business with an enhanced focus on the US market and the unprecedented trading conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic. He leaves the group with a strong balance, sheet, clear focus and strong growth momentum and we wish him well for the future.”
In January Majestic Wine was ranked Top250 in RXUK Top500 research.